An airport is a place where airplanes can land or take off. Most airports in the world have only a long strip of level ground called a runway. Many airports have buildings which are used to hold airplanes and passengers. A building that holds passengers waiting for their planes or luggage is called a terminal. The sections between the plane and the terminal are called "gates". Airports also have buildings called hangars to hold planes when they are not used. Some airports have buildings to control the airport, like a control tower which tells planes where to go.
An international airport is a large airport that airplanes can use to fly to and from other countries. A domestic airport is an airport which is usually smaller and only has airplanes coming from places in the same country. Most international airports have shops and restaurants for airplane passengers to use.
An airport used by the military is often called an air force base or airbase. An aircraft carrier is a floating airbase.
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Airports are made and operated for safety. Today, people must walk through a metal detector, a machine that can tell if metal goes through it. If it makes a noise, the officers will make that person take off all things on them that are metal. They also have X-ray machines that can look into luggage. If officers find items such as weapons, or anything that can be used to kill people, that item (and the person who has it) are taken away and possibly arrested. As well as this, passengers are not allowed to bring bottles or containers with over 100 ml of liquid onto the plane because they could be turned into bombs. Therefore, all water bottles must be emptied before entering the secured area.
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Airport is a complex of buildings and runways for take-off, landing and maintenance of civil aircraft. It has facilities for passengers. It is interesting to see how the movement of so many planes is tracked in perfect order. The one at Kolkata is known as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport. Few days back we were taken from school to see this airport.
School bus dropped us at the domestic terminal. We formed a queue and entered the airport, trying not to come in the way of passengers. The ambience was very impressive. The lounge was brightly lit and tastefully decorated. Huge screens displaying the arrival and departure of flights greeted us at different spots.
It was a busy time of the day. There were a large number of people with baggage in tow, some standing in queue before ticket counters, some proceedings towards different numbered gates. There were many children also. We heard voices at short intervals announcing the arrival, departure or delay of flights and at times asking passengers to proceed towards a particular gate for security check.
There were counters of various airlines with smartly dressed men and women who were answering the queries of passengers, weighing their baggage and issuing boarding passes. The gift shops in the airport were well stocked with books, toys, chocolates and knick-knacks. We came across a florist with large varieties of flowers, a saree shop selling traditional bangles, sarees, and numerous snacks counter.
The assortment of snacks on display drew our attention. They had almost everything starting from pizzas, burgers, doughnuts, sandwiches to wafers, juices, tea, coffee and soft drinks. We also saw airhostesses of Jet Airways, Air Deccan and Air Sahara. One pilot even stopped over to talk to us. He answered all our questions with a smile.
He explained how he flew the plane with a control stick. He also told us that the experience to soar high among the clouds was unmatched. He left by asking us to go to the viewing gallery to see the take-off and arrival of planes. We saw numerous X-ray machines scanning the baggage of passengers. Then we went to see the security checks being done. Security personnel frisked every passenger and then stamped his boarding pass.
Our next destination was the viewing gallery. We could hardly contain our excitement as we raced up the stairs. The viewing gallery had sound-proof glass on one side and rows of chairs for people to sit and watch. A bus dropped passengers near the aircraft, and then they proceeded to climb the stairs leading into the aircraft. We saw the lights flashing on the tips of the wings of the plane.
The door of the aircraft closed and the plane started to move towards the runway. Just short of the runway it stopped and a light came on the front of the plane. We could faintly hear the rumbling noise of the aircraft engine. The plane started to move again, this time with more speed. The speed kept on increasing and when it was in the middle of the runway, the plane started to climb up and was off the ground.
After a while it appeared like a giant bird in the sky. After spending a day in the airport my interest to travel by air piqued. I hope my wish is fulfilled soon.